Monday, April 20, 2015

Old Times and Tenderloin - a View From a Diner

Not far from the old Indianapolis airport terminal there was this really cool and very old looking diner, run down and closed a few years ago. Noticing that it disappeared,  I was saddened to see it torn down.

But it was NOT torn down.  The city in Plainfield worked with some local folks to get it moved to the historic downtown area and restored to it's glory of 1954. I sort of stumbled across it one day and promised to drive back and eat there. With my husband around this weekend it was the perfect time.
The Oasis Diner.

Partner and I made the drive to check it out and are really glad we did. They've been open several months now giving them time to work out the kinks that can come with any new business, and establish a good menu.
The main dining room (which was decorated with a lot of automobile license plate memorabilia) was pretty full so we went around the corner to the counter which also had a few smaller booths.  The decor was restored to its original look and it was just perfect.  But decor notwithstanding, I was trying not to drool at the homemade cakes and pies under glass as we ordered our drinks (coffee for Partner, this amazing locally crafted Butterscotch Root Beer for me).

MMMM, Spice Cake

It was pouring, so we ate inside but there is outside seating, including an area where your pets are welcome (the restaurant is right off of a walking trail through an extensive city park so this would be a great spot to stop with the kids and the dog for one of their hand crafted milkshakes, malts or old-fashioned soda floats on a warm summer day.)

There's some standards and some not so standards like Grilled Cheese, full of not just cheese but lots of bacon, roasted tomatoes, avocado relish on homemade (baked right there) bread served with a cup of tomato basil bisque. Then there was something called "disco" fries which looks wonderfully like Canadian Poutine - with french fries covered with melted mozzarella, brown gravy and fresh chives.

They also sell their whole pies and loaves of bread to go.
Partner in Grime had the breakfast special, A Monte Cristo style breakfast sandwich with bacon and eggs sandwiched between two slices of french toast, dusted with powdered sugar.  He said it was very good.

I had the tenderloin sandwich (and yes, there ended up being a "to go" box involved --it was HUGE). Crispy and tender with a surprisingly delicate, yet crisp and tasty coating, it was worth each and every calorie, especially with a homemade bun and garlic mayo and my choice of their many sides - in this case poppy-seed  infused creamy coleslaw though I almost went for the bacon mac and cheese. Partner headed back to Chicago in the morning with half the sandwich (which didn't last the trip) and called to tell me how good it was.

As we relaxed and chatted  it was like going back to a time before I was born, one of simple food and simple fun.

Looking out the window, at small town America, I was thankful that such  family run businesses are still succeeding.  There across the street, a bus from a Baptist church, a city flag honoring our soldiers, and another local business.  This is the kind of town I grew up in, and though I'm officially a "big city" resident now, I love to return to my roots  Especially with wonderful meals to go with it.
We got ready to leave, when a basket came past our table to be served to the gentlemen quietly reading a book at the booth behind us.  Something on the menu I had missed.  Beignets!  Hot from the fryer and dusted with sugar.  Why yes, you can add a basket of those to our tab for $2.  Our server was so sweet to make the last minute change.  The perfect ending to our meal.
The service was efficient and ever-so-friendly, Partner's coffee cup was refilled promptly, a manager stopping by our table to make sure we were satisfied and we promised we'd made a drive back again. If you're heading across central Indiana on Interstate 70, just pop north on the Hwy 267 exit just west of the Indy airport, take a left on old Highway 40 (West Main Street, where the road "T's, at the Kroger--you can't miss it) in Plainfield and you'll find the Oasis just down the road a couple of miles on the left.  It's well worth the stop and would be a fun outing for anyone in the Indianapolis area with the great park here, with water and so many walking trails.

To the owners and staff of the Oasis Diner-- here's hoping for another 50 or so years.  We will definitely be back.